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March of Militarism: Contemporary Nationalism through Military Spectacle

Gunoe, Andrea (2023) March of Militarism: Contemporary Nationalism through Military Spectacle. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Over the last decade, large military performances such as parades and exhibitions have increasingly become the sites of controversy, violent attacks, and military strategy. From Russia's Victory Day Parades in 2022 and 2023 to President Donald Trump's proposed but un-realized military parade in the United States in 2018, these presentations have demonstrated their capacity to perform power and influence national ideology. March of Militarism explores spectacular military performances to interrogate their meanings and purposes. Through a focus on the fundamental element of these performances, military foot drill, this dissertation reveals the role of the soldier's body in these spectacles. In an interrogation of the soldier body in performance for the nation, I historicize drill through affect and ideal masculinity in the body’s sociohistorical context. In doing so, I find means of nation creation in which the nation, masculinity, and affect crucially intertwine.

This dissertation explores several case studies of drill and spectacular military performances incorporating drill in their national mise-en-scène. In a move away from linear narratives of progress and cause and effect in the history of military drill, I provide a rhizomatic historiography of the battle and performance practice through Imperial Greece, Early Modern England, and the contemporary United States of America to pinpoint masculinity’s role in the affective experience of drill. I then move to two spectacular performances: the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo of 2017 and the Bastille Day Parade (La Fête Nationale or le 14 juillet) in Paris, France, in 2018. I account for historical, political, physical, and theatrical contributors to their meanings to understand the consequences of these performances for Scotland, France, and their accompanying national identities. I apply theories from sociology, military history, military studies, dance studies, and performance studies to primary sources, including historical military drill manuals, government records, and my personal experience at the performances to study numerous meanings for the nation and performance.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gunoe, AndreaAMG251@pitt.eduAMG251
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcKelvey, PatrickPTM17@pitt.eduPTM17
Committee MemberGeorge, KathleenGeorgeke@pitt.eduGeorgeke
Committee MemberGranshaw, MichelleMKG31@pitt.eduMKG21
Committee MemberReeser, Toddreeser@pitt.eduReeser
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 July 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 25 July 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 251
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Military, Performance, Drill, Affect, Masculinity, Scotland, Greece, France, Bastille Day, Parade, Edinburgh Tattoo, Andreia, Theatre, Army, Highland Soldier, Aelian, Precision Drill, Exhibition Drill, Military Parade
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2023 15:59
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 15:59


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